It is 8 PM, EDT - the June 2010 Poetry Sweatshop will now close an hour. In the meantime, I will start posting the poems I’ve received thus far, and I’ll start the poll at 9 PM.
Past poets (and I) have greatly appreciated peoples comments and feedback on the works presented here. I have one simple request - please wait one hour until the Sweatshop officially ends at 9 PM before posting anything else. That way, the first threads are all just the poems. After 9 PM this evening, please; we welcome your input!
I just want to emphasize the importance of voting - the poets are depending for an outside opinion of their work. The poll is by secret ballot, so no one need ever know how you voted. As we did for the last two months, I’ve made this a multiple choice poll.
Please note that the poll is seeking your favourite poem - no deep, arcane knowledge of poetry’s inner workings is required. Whichever poems strike a chord with you, please give them your vote. And, though the choice will be difficult, please take the time to choose at least one poem.
I also want to mention that because of our current working method, all of the following poems will be posted under my user name, which may lead people to think that I am trying to claim authorship. Only one of the following poems is mine - the authors’ names may be found in the spoiler boxes at the bottom of each reply.
The three words this month are:
And so, allow me to present our poets’ work for this June…
The transaction took only moments
quite brief, really, for so weighty a matter
the Service had briefed me well
I was ready, and so, of course, was she
what did I carry, you ask, a suitcase of cash?
a gun with a silencer? a cloak, a dagger?
Please. No, too cliched by far
it’s different than that, and so:
a key, a number, then a longer number,
a passport and a small plastic card
the means of safe passage
she knew what it meant
what would come next
think of it, just think of it, as she must have:
a new life, a better future
her own destiny now within her grasp
escaping at last from that tragic, murderous realm
breaking the chains that bound her
leaving behind hunger, fear, a lifetime’s careful silence
beneath the glare of an elite who could have her killed,
or worse, on a whim; tyranny’s coarse hold
soon to be slipped forever.
As that hated flag snapped in the breeze
over our bowed and whispering heads
the guards stupidly staring past us, armed
for an invasion that would never come,
I remember her smile, so radiant
in spite of her worries, knowing that
freedom was just a little closer
but that was twenty years ago, and
I confess I could hardly bear to tell her
that her daughter must remain behind.
Saw each other at the grocery store
a year after you said “I don’t want to see you no more.”
You asked how I was doing
flat like it was a perfunctory transaction
instead you just really askin’
like you cared.
I miss you tonight was what I wanted to say.
It’s been a year but the pain hasn’t gone away.
Everytime I think that the worst is all through
I started seeing visions of you.
“I’m doing ok” is all that comes out
in spite of myself.
Last year we were lovers and laughing at all we’d dare
young and light and free, like we were dancin’ on air.
We talked of our love and our destiny that we’d make.
Now we talk of the weather, and I no longer believe
in love or fate.
Now our goodbyes are said once more,
not even waving as we walk out the door.
And driving home I think of the road our lives have taken
and the bends that we speed down along the way
How did we get from saying “I love you” to
“I’ll see you round some day”?
You are most welcome, but it is a great pleasure for me. I enjoy seeing what different poets create from the same basic source material, as well as seeing the consistent voices of regular contributors. Even though I’ve met only a handful of Dopers face to face, I find I take this deadline very seriously indeed rather than face the embarrassment of letting friends down. It is also very helpful on my own path as a writer and a poet to learn to find inspiration spontaneously, and to create, if not a polished, finished work, at least a spark that could be shaped into a flame with thoughtful editing and further drafts.
And as I said earlier in the Logistics Thread, this weekend’s peaceful protests in Toronto being hijacked into vandalism and looting had me very down in spirit, and it was tremendously uplifting to have the pleasure of reading three brand new poems on Sunday morning after a sleepless, anxious night. I am happy to have contributed, in however small a way, to encouraging people to write for no other reason than the sheer joy of creation.
I’m excited I finally managed to get off my ass and contribute! I was so panicky that I wouldn’t be able to come up with anything, and, in fact, stared at the words blankly for a minute or two, going “Oh god oh god oh god.” I think I ended up knocking the whole thing out in about 20 minutes, though.
It’s fun as always to read the results, Ministre. I’m sorry I couldn’t participate this time. I was in a foul mood all weekend and didn’t feel like composing anything. But I’m looking forward to next time.
Thank you for organizing this every month Le Min! I don’t know bout the rest of ya’ll, but the hardest part of writing, for me, is getting up off your butt and doing it. Le Min, you’ve managed to encourage and inspire me, and obviously several other folks, to do just that and I’d like to thank you for that. You rock dude.
And the same to the rest of ya’ll! You’re all amazing poets and I’m proud to be counted among you guys (and gals)!